Citations Building for Local SEO
Citations are the key foundational factor for local SEO. Many surveys, conducted by local SEO specialists, show that a business with high-quality citations is more visible than its rivals. When it comes to local search, citations evolve as the main strategy for local business to increase their online visibility and authority locally. However, some local marketers often ignore this technique just because they may not be familiar or may consider it a tiresome task to do.
As we have been in the field of local SEO for 9 long years, we have gathered vast knowledge about local citations. Our expertise team has made a complete guide about local citations to let you know everything about citations.
What are citations
Simply, local citations mean any online mention of your business details on a website that is not your own. For example: when you submit your business details on Yelp.com and get listed is called a citation. Citations can be done on third-party websites, business directories, social platforms, and online newspapers as well.
Most of the business listing directories allow a business to submit a business name, address, and phone number which is shortly called NAP. NAP is the main and basic information that a business provides while building citations but there is other additional information like website link, short description, hours of operation, and business logo one can submit besides NAP.
Citations help your business to be found when someone searches for a local business and can have a great influence in improving your local search rankings. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, among others, use citations to examine your business whether the business exists or not. When search engines find relevant and consistent details of your business in different directories and websites, they believe that the business exists and is trustworthy. So they put it high on local search rankings. That’s why remember to set up exactly the same information while claiming citations for your business.
Why do you need to build citations?
Imagine you are a customer, not a business owner, and you need to get a product or service in your locality. In this regard, what do you do? Do you check your phone book to find if there is someone who sells that product or service, or do you use your favorite search engine to get the product/service in your hands?
A study by Google says, 8 out of 10 consumers use search engines to find local businesses or services. As a consumer, it is ok if you are not one of those 8. You can avail of the product or service in any other way.
But when it comes to a business owner it is a big deal. No business probably wants to reach only 2 customers leaving the other 8. Rather everyone would prefer to reach those 8 leaving these 2.
Now, the simple question is if you want to reach those customers, who are using search engines to buy products or services, your business must need to be found online. And to be found online and rank top on search queries, your business must need to build citations. Because citations building is the only way to share, relevant, accurate, and consistent information about your business to business listing sites or other platforms so as to consumers know when, how, and where to find your business and search engines know when, how, where, and who show your business details.
Types of citations
The types of citations are mainly divided into two categories based on the information found in a local citation for a local business. These are; structured citations and unstructured citations.
This is the most commonly seen method of citations building. When a business name, address, and phone number are mentioned in a directory is called a structured citation. Most of the structured citations at least contain the NAP of a business. Local listing directory sites and social media profiles are an example of structured citations.
Here’s an example of structured citations:
When a business NAP or details is mentioned on a website or online newspaper instead of a listing directory is called unstructured citations. Normally, when a business detail or only the name and address is mentioned in a blog post or newspaper that will be considered as an unstructured citation.
Here’s an example of unstructured citations:
What are the main features of citations?
The most common and important features of citations are business name, address, and phone numbers (NAP). Apart from these, a citation can comprise some or all the following elements:
- Business category
- Hours of operation
- Email address
- Fax number
- Links to social media
- Description/short description of the business
How to build citations
When a business expecting a better result in the local search query, it should have both structured and unstructured citations. While building citations, pay attention to quality over quantity. You don’t need to get listed on all sites you come across. Rather you should prefer directories that are relevant to your business.
One thing you must do before you start building citations is to remove citations that were built previously. To remove existing citations, you have to search your business by submitting your business name or phone number on the search box of that particular directory. After finding the information, you can delete them to create a new citation or edit the details to make sure of their accuracy if you are allowed to edit. If you are building brand new citations, then you can choose a list of directory sites related to your industry and location. You can find your industry and location-relevant sites by figuring out your competitor’s citations. The sites where they get listed are the sites you should get listed.
After finding the list, you can submit your business information to all directories one by one. It is a time-consuming task though. But it ensures the accuracy and relevancy of information as there are fewer chances of making mistakes and one can check the details repeatedly.
Or you can follow the automated submission method to get your work done but it’s a less accurate method of submitting as it often leads to errors. This process, very often, fails to provide all the information while building citations on listing sites. So you should avoid this method of building citations as much as possible.
If you want someone else to do this task for you, you can hire us to build citations for your business. The Local SEO Help Team has a big team with 9 years of expertise to help you regarding this matter.
As citations help to increase the online visibility of your business and help the customer discover your business, you can’t ignore its importance. You can reach potential customers by increasing your local search ranking and accurate citations help to boost your ranking. At the same time, be careful about inaccurate or inconsistent citations because they can make great damage to your ranking.